How much bark mulch do I need?

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When spring arrives and your attention can once again turn to growing season, one of the best things you can do to get started in your garden is to add a layer of bark mulch to your flower beds. While this does take some work, the pay-offs are well worth the additional effort. As we explained in our recent blog looking into the uses of mulch, this gardening essential can help to ensure your planting beds can best nurture your plants, leading to beautiful flowers, healthier stems and fewer weeds. 

However, how much mulch is required for the area of garden you have in mind? Carry on reading as we explain how to calculate the quantity of mulch needed for your latest landscaping project.  

How to calculate mulch

As mulch is most commonly sold in cubic feet/yards or metres/litres, you will want to use one of these units when you want to calculate the amount of mulch you need for a particular project. Below we will show you how to calculate the amount of mulch you need using both units, however, regardless of the measurement of the bulk bag you will be buying, you will first need to measure the area of the space you want to cover.

In order to calculate this, you will need to measure the area of the flower bed or planting bed you want to cover in either yards and feet or metres (depending on bag type) and note it down. To do this for rectangular spaces, simply measure the width and length of the area and multiply these figures together. For circular spaces, times the radius (the distance from the middle of the circle to the edge) by itself and then multiply the total by 3.14. 

Next, you will need to decide how deep you would like your layer of bark mulch to be. The depth of mulch needed depends on the type of mulch you are using – coarse mulch, like pine-based mulch, allows for more air movement, meaning you can lay it as much as four inches (10.16cm) deep, while shredded hardwood should be kept between one (2.5cm) and three inches (7.6cm) deep. However, as a rule, a depth of between one and two inches is recommended, as this will allow the mulch to retain moisture and keep weeds away without smothering your plants. Remember, if you add too deep of a layer of mulch, you can suffocate the roots of what you’re trying to grow, as well as preventing water from being able to effectively filter through to be absorbed by the roots. 

How much mulch is needed per square foot?

Typically, one cubic yard of mulch will be able to cover an area of around 324 square feet at one inch deep. With this in mind, to calculate how much mulch is needed per square foot, simply follow the formula below:

  • Amount of mulch needed = total square footage of space x depth / 324. 

For example, if you are looking to calculate how much mulch you need to cover a rectangular flower bed that measures 10ft by 5ft with two inches of mulch, you would do the following calculations:

  • Area of flower bed = 10 (length) x 5 (width) = 50 square-foot.
  • 50 (total area) x 2 (depth) = 100. 
  • 100 / 324 = 0.31

So, in this example, you would need 0.31 cubic yards of mulch. 

How much mulch do I need in litres?

Working out how much mulch you need in litres is relatively simple. Once again, start by measuring the length and width of the area you want to cover in metres, and decide on the depth you want to lay, also in metres. Next, simply multiply the length by the width by the depth to give you the volume of the space you want to cover in cubic metres. This figure can then be multiplied by 1,000 to give you the volume of mulch you need in litres. 

For example, if you want to calculate how much mulch you need to cover a rectangular flower bed that measures 10m by 5m with 0.05m (two inches) of mulch, you would do the following calculations:

10 (length) x 5 (width) x 0.05m (depth) = 2.5㎥

2.5㎥ x 1000 = 2,500 litres of mulch. 

So, in this example, you would need 2,500 litres of mulch. 

Where to buy bulk mulch

If you are looking for bulk bags of premium bark mulch that can be delivered anywhere in the UK with guaranteed same week delivery, check out Ningbo’s range of high quality bulk landscaping products